Glen Ridge HS girls soccer team enjoys great run this season

GLEN RIDGE, NJ — The Glen Ridge High School girls soccer team enjoyed another great run this season.

The fifth-seeded Lady Ridgers, under longtime head coach Oscar Viteri, finished as runner-up in the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association’s North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 state tournament.

For the second time this season, Glen Ridge outlasted eighth-seeded Verona in a penalty-kick shootout in the semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at Watsessing Park in Bloomfield. After a scoreless regulation and two overtimes, the Ridgers won the penalty-kick shootout, 4-2. Olivia Gist made seven saves in regulation and in the overtimes.

The Ridgers fell to sixth-seeded Mountain Lakes, 4-2, in the sectional final on a beautiful Saturday morning, Nov. 5, at Watsessing Park in Bloomfield to end the season with an 11-8-3 record. Avery Gilbert and Ava Kotronis scored for Glen Ridge.

Despite the loss in the sectional final, Viteri was proud of this team for a great season.

“We had a very positive season,” said Viteri in an email to The Glen Ridge Paper. “After our preseason scrimmages I knew we could only get better. As the season went on we started to find our groove. We stayed in each game only with a few hiccups. Players really stepped up at the right times, and we surprised a lot of teams. Getting to the ECT final was great for our program, and getting to the sectional final was great to see because of how our season went last season and we were knocked out in the second round, so the girls really stepped up when we worked as a group. (I) want to wish all the seniors the best of luck.”

In the Essex County Tournament, the 12th-seeded Ridgers also played fourth-seeded Verona, to a scoreless tie through regulation and two overtimes in the quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 14, at Verona before winning it in the penalty-kick shootout, 5-4. Glen Ridge then beat top-seeded Montclair, 2-1, in the semifinals on Tuesday, Oct. 18. In the ECT final, the Ridgers lost to third-seeded West Orange, 5-0, at Caldwell on Saturday, Oct. 22.

Viteri completed his 22nd season as the GRHS head coach; he has guided the program to 17 sectional final appearances. Glen Ridge reached the sectional final for 11 straight years, from 2010 to 2020, including winning eight straight sectional titles in nine consecutive seasons from 2012 to 2020. The team also made the Group 1 state final six times in that span. They played Shore Regional in the Group 1 state final five times, winning it in 2012 and tying Shore in 2013 to become co-champs. Shore beat Glen Ridge in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Glen Ridge lost to Audubon in the 2018 Group 1 state final in a penalty-kick shootout.

The Ridgers won the sectional and Group 1 state titles in Viteri’s first season in 2001. Glen Ridge was sectional runner-up in 2002, 2003, 2007 and 2008.